Which is better?
Value for money & ease of use Zipcar, convenience and cleaner cars DriveNow; DriveNow has replaced Zipcar as my default Car club.
ZipCar (I have been a member since 2008 when it was Street Car)
Keys: I like the fact that ZipCar has a key for the car, this makes the whole booking straight forward, you unlock with your key card (or app but the (UK) app can be trash), you use the key throughout the booking and when you’re done, you put the key in the holder lock the car with your card/app and finished! Brilliant and effortless to use.
Bookings: Being able to book a car weeks in advance makes planning trips easier, being able to extend bookings by text messages also make it easy to extend booking for occasions you might be stuck in traffic.
Overnight booking: 18:00-09:00 for £29.00 Monday-Thursday is exceptional value for money.
Variety of cars: They have Ford fiesta’s, Audi A3’s, Hyundai’s I30’s, 7 seaters and even vans, the range of vehicles can’t be beaten.
Hourly packages: you can book a car for an hour for a reasonable price.
Fuel: Arval card is present just fill up and put it on the card.
0% Excess: annual fee of £99.00 for the year provides zero excess.
Congestion charge: all included within the price.
Moving vehicles: they can often quickly and swiftly move your booking to a another vehicle if there is a issue i.e. dirty car.
Phone Syncing: Excellent, I don’t usually have issues syncing my phone to cars (except one particular Ford Focus).
Customer service: usually very good, it was even better when it was Street Car (I now wish the EU blocked the merger).
Dirty cars: When I joined Street Car which later became Zipcar the cars where usually clean, now they are just forever dirty, to the point of frustration that I don’t even bother using Zipcar since joining DriveNow.
Weekend price hike: The hourly car rate increases on weekends.
Text message charge: you get charged £0.29 to extend a booking by text.
Parking: if you are doing stuff within the borough you can’t park the car anywhere in the borough as you can with DriveNow which is a shame.
App (UK): the app (UK App) is straight trash, constantly crashes and when they announced ‘ZipCar anywhere app’ that was a laugh! you could not even get the app to open without it crashing, I stick with the USA app as it usually works fine.
Limited use of the car: This I need to explain, with DriveNow there is an air of freedom when you book a car as you don’t have to worry about getting caught in traffic and incurring a fine when you book a car; with ZipCar this is not the case as someone could have booked the car after you, thus if you get it back even slightly late it’s a fine (which is fair enough if there is a booking after you), however initially in Street car days, if no one had a booking after you and you got the car back 5-10 minutes late, there were no fines but that is no longer the case.
SatNav: Not all cars have SatNav.
Lack of automatics: All these types of cars should be automatics.
DriveNow (member since August 2017)
Cleaner cars: on average the cars are usually cleaner than Zipcar (though I have had a few instances where this is not the case).
Location: the cars are usually located around the borough, you can always find one.
App: The App works well and I have had next to no issues with it.
Range of cars: Not as good as ZipCar but they do have a convertible Mini’s as well as the regular 2&5 door hatch backs, there are electric BMW’s and a BMW 1 series.
Parking: for local use this is crucial, being able to park the car anywhere within the borough makes shopping or doing things locally a buzz!
20 minutes free: If the fuel is less than 25% and you fill it up, you get 20 minutes of free driving credit.
Unlimited use of the car: What I mean here is; if you book a car and set the timer for 3 hour package; well if you go over 3 hours you get to their charge per minute rate which is great and means if you’re a few minutes over your time you don’t incur the penalty like you would with ZipCar as the cars effectively yours until you end the booking.
SatNav: All cars have SatNav!
Automatics: To me this is one of the best things about Drive Now and it has definitely been a reason why I gradually stopped using Zip Car for it, driving automatics is far more pleasurable than driving manuals especially in traffic (yes I come across a lot of traffic).
No key: A massive frustration of mine with DriveNow is having to argue with that ‘Park and Keep’ function which is just trash, when you’re in a booking, especially having to re-enter your pin number in front of others.
Fuel card: Unlike ZipCar you have to faff about with the menu and get the pin number, it’s annoying and needs to be simplified.
Tyre pressure: When I do get my own car it will not be a BMW, the constant warnings that come up around tyres is a little more than surprising (never had these warnings with a golf!).
No zero excess insurance option: they do not have a 0 excess option like ZipCar does.
Can’t swap cars: they can’t swap vehicles, to my surprise, when I got to a vehicle that was dirty, they were unable to swap my booking instead they had to cancel it and then I had to re-book (I was on the phone with customer services at the time), all the ‘smart functions’ and they can’t move a booking for you.
Can’t book additional hourly packages: This is frustrating; hourly packages are overall cheaper than the per minute rates, if you book a two hour package but realise you might need the car longer (heavy traffic which happened to me twice), there is no way to book additional hourly packages; not even with a phone call, you have to end the booking, re-book and book another package (I’ve actually done this) it’s just the stupidest thing and can make you blood boil.
No timer/reminder: There is no timer on the app or in the car to say how long you got left in your booking (this is in relation to booking hourly packages), I usually set a manual timer on my phone but I should be able to go into the app and it say ’24 mins remaining from my 2 hour package’ for example.
Phone Syncing: Don’t bother doing it wirelessly; the phone syncing is garbage, complete and utter garbage, non-recyclable garbage! When you do manage to get your phone synced after goodness knows how much hassle; everytime you turn off the frigging car (even in Park and keep mode) it delete the damn sync, then you have to go through the learning mandarin exercise to get it sync again, get a USB cable, don’t argue with me, just get the damn cable and thank me later.
Customer services: meh!
I have seen another Car club company called Ubeeqo which I will join in the new year, they have golfs which is my preferred car (Street Car had golfs and I find these miles better than the BMW 1 Series), the rates seem reasonable let’s hope they have clean cars, if they do turn out to be good; I will probably drop ZipCar.
I have been car sharing for over 9 years and truth be told; I want my own car, dirty cars plus annoying bits with both services just make me want my own vehicle now, plus the costs of these car sharing clubs can quickly rack up, I’ve easily spent over £2,000 on car clubs this year alone!
Been a couple years since I wrote this; here’s an update: